Sarika Shah shares her journey from childhood in Kenya to becoming the principal of a successful Docklands-based practice.

She discusses her transition to the UK for education, her decision to pursue dentistry, and the highs and lows of practice growth.

Sarika explores the importance of patient care, team management, and overcoming obstacles, with insight into the unique challenges faced by women in dentistry. 


In This Episode

02.25 – Backstory

08.20 – Discovering dentistry

11.35 – University

18.20 – Professional journey 

31.30 – Practice ownership and growth

42.35 – Women in dentistry

51.35 – Parenting and leadership

01.00.50 – Blackbox thinking

01.07.15 – Last days and legacy

01.08.00 – Fantasy dinner party


About Sarika Shah

Sarika Shah graduated from the University of Manchester in 2006 and completed a Master’s degree in Restorative Dentistry at the Eastman Dental Institute, UCL. Sarika established Platinum Dental Care in Canary Wharf in 2017.

Speaker1: Mindset and mindset shift, which is a huge part of self leadership. You’ve [00:00:05] got to be able to understand that, because a lot of what the habits that are already set in us is [00:00:10] from experience and from previous beliefs, right? And the good thing [00:00:15] is the brain is mouldable and that there are strategies on how you can change [00:00:20] that mindset and make that shift. But look, I mean payment, you have [00:00:25] to realise that you want the change first, right? You have to realise, [00:00:30] you know, where is it you want to go, what kind of life do you really want to live? [00:00:35] Right? And once you have that set in stone, then you’re ready [00:00:40] to then use all the strategies from self leadership, create that mindset change. [00:00:45] And then it’s all about intentionality, accountability, responsibility [00:00:50] and then moving on from there.

Speaker2: This [00:00:55] is Dental Leaders, the [00:01:00] podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. [00:01:05] Your hosts Payman [00:01:10] Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

Speaker3: It gives me great pleasure to [00:01:15] welcome Doctor Sarika Shah onto the podcast. Sarika is the principal at [00:01:20] platinum Dental care, which is one of the most beautiful practices I’ve ever been to. [00:01:25] But not not only from the way it looks, but from the way it runs. A happy team, [00:01:30] lots of patients. Very, very impressive place in the Docklands. [00:01:35] Sarika is also now on a journey of self-development. [00:01:40] And looking at your poster, you guys, I see they’re becoming more and more inspirational [00:01:45] as as we go, and I’m really keen to get into that story as well. Welcome to the podcast. [00:01:50]

Speaker1: Thank you so much and it’s such a pleasure to be here today. So thank you for having me. [00:01:55]

Speaker4: Welcome to Rekha. And certainly from my point of view, I guess because my head’s in that [00:02:00] space, right? And it goes in and out of that space. Right. This personal development, self-help, wanting [00:02:05] to be the best version of you. And then, you know, whenever I come across [00:02:10] your stories or your posts and things like that, you’re definitely putting out there [00:02:15] a lot of positivity. But before we get into that, I want to [00:02:20] take us right back to the beginning. Your childhood, your upbringing, where you were born, [00:02:25] what that was like parents strict, not non strict. We were [00:02:30] really, really studious person to take us. Take us back to your upbringing. Give us your earliest [00:02:35] memories of what childhood was like.

Speaker1: Brilliant. Well, I [00:02:40] was very privileged to have grown up in Kenya with a very [00:02:45] stable family background, and it was just such a wonderful [00:02:50] place to grow up, you know, great weather, a lot of outdoors and a close knit [00:02:55] family. And I would also say that I think I’m very grateful [00:03:00] for the privileged upbringing that I’ve had as well. I have a lot of happy [00:03:05] childhood memories from my education, from my school days, as well [00:03:10] as being at home. And in terms of my upbringing, I’d say that [00:03:15] my parents weren’t very strict. I mean, they created boundaries [00:03:20] at home, and they ensured that we grew up with really good values [00:03:25] and that, you know, especially valuing our education. I think that was [00:03:30] really important to them because they worked so hard to be able to give us our education. [00:03:35] And I remember my dad saying to me that, you know, out of everything in this world, [00:03:40] the one thing I can give you is your education. So [00:03:45] had a fantastic childhood until the age of 16 when I finished my GCSEs, [00:03:50] and then I moved to the UK and I spent my last two years of [00:03:55] sixth form in a boarding school in Kent, which was [00:04:00] very interesting because it was so different. I was completely ripped away from [00:04:05] my comfort zone, and I was suddenly forced to be in an environment [00:04:10] where I had to grow up really quickly. This was a country that I [00:04:15] never. I’d been to England once in my life before, so it was in a country that I’d lived in [00:04:20] before. The weather was so different and I was almost forced to [00:04:25] make new friendships, new relationships. And I’d probably say [00:04:30] that that was the first time I remember being or starting [00:04:35] my self-development journey. And that was from the age of 16, because I was put [00:04:40] in this position where I had to really learn and grow up [00:04:45] at such a fast pace and become independent.

Speaker4: Any siblings? Sarika, did [00:04:50] you did you come with brother or sister or anything like that? Were you only child? What was the.

Speaker1: Yeah [00:04:55] so.

Speaker4: Situation. I have a younger brother.

Speaker1: There’s about a five and a half years difference [00:05:00] between us. Um, but when I moved to the UK, I was I was on my own. I [00:05:05] didn’t have a lot of close family in London, so it was. It was completely starting [00:05:10] from scratch for me. It was a new phase of my life and one that I am so [00:05:15] appreciative of because I feel that that was when I started [00:05:20] really learning who I was and, you know, understanding [00:05:25] a sense of self. And I think it really began if I reflect, that’s how it began that early on for me. [00:05:30]

Speaker4: And and can you remember the time that your parents said, [00:05:35] we’re going to send you to the UK? Like, like, how did that come about? And [00:05:40] what was your what was going through your mind at the time or, or was it always going [00:05:45] to happen anyway?

Speaker1: Yeah. You know, I think my parents are quite intuitive in that sense because [00:05:50] they saw that, almost saw that I wanted and needed more [00:05:55] from what my education and what my environment was giving me then. And [00:06:00] my uncle had been to the school many, many years ago. Uh, and my mum said [00:06:05] to me, I remember her having a conversation. She said. Well, you know, this is an option for you. And at [00:06:10] that time, I was actually instead of A levels that my school was providing, I was actually looking at [00:06:15] doing the International Baccalaureate. And, and I remember my mom saying to me that, you [00:06:20] know, this could be fantastic and would you be up for this? And I just thought, [00:06:25] so scary, but yet so exciting. And I will never forget that [00:06:30] emotion and the feeling that I had sitting at that dining table is such a distinct memory in my life [00:06:35] and thinking that, wow, like what a huge opportunity this could, [00:06:40] this could be so incredible for me. I’m so I’m so [00:06:45] happy that I made that choice. And I’m so I’m so over the moon at that time. I think looking [00:06:50] back, I’m so happy that my parents supported me through that as well, you know, and [00:06:55] sent me and allowed me to go through this next phase of my life at that point.

Speaker3: Circa [00:07:00] as a as a person of your stature, let’s say, in Kenya, [00:07:05] if, let’s say in that sliding doors moment, you hadn’t decided to go, have [00:07:10] you reflected on where you would be now and who you would be? And.

Speaker1: Uh, [00:07:15] I feel that. I feel that whatever has [00:07:20] happened in terms of my life journey and who I am would [00:07:25] still have happened, but maybe not have happened as quickly, because I think [00:07:30] that by going abroad at such a young age, when I was 16 [00:07:35] and really coming out of my comfort zone, everything I had known wasn’t [00:07:40] had disappeared. And and like I said, it made [00:07:45] me grow up really quickly. But I think that, you know, I’ve always been someone that [00:07:50] is a little bit spiritual that wants to learn and grow and had [00:07:55] ambition and wanted to just take on all these challenges. [00:08:00] I think that’s within me, you know? So I think that if [00:08:05] the situation had been the other way around and I’d stayed in Kenya, my life would have been different [00:08:10] and I think I would have just been on this path. But a little bit later.

Speaker3: Do [00:08:15] you remember dentistry coming into the equation? At what age that was?

Speaker1: Absolutely. [00:08:20] So do you know that, um, dentistry [00:08:25] for me was probably one of the first autonomous [00:08:30] decisions that I made in my life, and I’ve never regretted [00:08:35] it when I was in boarding school. You know, all my family, they’ve all [00:08:40] got a business background. So it was almost like. It was almost like it was [00:08:45] expected of me to go in that direction. And then I realised when I was, [00:08:50] you know, when I was choosing my subjects and when I was sitting my exams, that I started to understand [00:08:55] and reflect on what I was good at and what I wasn’t good at. And I remember [00:09:00] having a conversation with my teachers and my parents. Remember, this was this was like 25 years [00:09:05] ago, right? There was, um, there was no WhatsApp. There was this calling scratch card [00:09:10] in, in the telephone booth. Um, and, you know, my parents weren’t there, [00:09:15] so I wasn’t really influenced in that sense directly, you know, by [00:09:20] by them and what they thought about career choices at the time. So [00:09:25] at this time I thought, well, great, I’ve got the opportunity to choose exactly what [00:09:30] I wanted to do. And it suddenly transitioned from moving from [00:09:35] like, almost like a business management, that type of degree to then me having a conversation. [00:09:40] Well, I’m really good at science and I’m a trained Indian classical dancer. I [00:09:45] was a really good artist and I thought, well, I’ve got the dexterity skills, so what could I [00:09:50] what could I do that where I could use my skills? And [00:09:55] really kind of, you know, move in that direction where [00:10:00] I could really, you know, use them to kind of be the best person [00:10:05] or have the best career and be happy and fulfilled.

Speaker1: So I was almost thinking like this, [00:10:10] um, around that time and, you know, it transitioned from, I don’t want to do [00:10:15] medicine to, you know, what about optometry or pharmacy as as typical Asian parents [00:10:20] might think at the time. And then, um, and then I said, well, do you know what? Well, [00:10:25] what about dentistry? And I knew of two girls that I knew from, from Kenya who were in [00:10:30] their fourth year of dentistry. And I thought, well, that would be a fantastic career. And I [00:10:35] looked into it a little bit more work shadowed at the dentists on the high street. And I remember, [00:10:40] you know, going to my parents well, right. I’ve decided I want to do dentistry. And I remember [00:10:45] that they said, well, it’s really difficult. Do you think you’re going to be able to do it? [00:10:50] It’s a really it’s a really hard degree, like almost like they didn’t believe that I [00:10:55] was smart enough, um, to do dentistry, but I stuck by it. [00:11:00] I changed my Ucas form right at, you know, at the last minute. And [00:11:05] I’m really proud. I’ve never regretted it in my life. And I’m really proud because I’m so passionate about [00:11:10] dentistry.

Speaker3: What did you change it from? What were you doing just before dentistry?

Speaker1: It was like [00:11:15] a business.

Speaker3: Things.

Speaker1: Business studies and business management, that type of degree. And then you know [00:11:20] that that initial phase of of choosing. But there was so much confusion and I’m glad [00:11:25] that I self reflected, understood what my strengths were, and then [00:11:30] made a decision based on that.

Speaker3: And then you studied in Manchester?

Speaker1: I did, [00:11:35] I went to the University of Manchester. And which was [00:11:40] absolutely brilliant. And it’s such a great mix of a city and a campus university [00:11:45] and made some fantastic friends. And we were such a small cohort. And I think [00:11:50] that that made a huge difference, um, where being a small cohort, each [00:11:55] of us had the opportunity to shine in our own way. And that was fantastic [00:12:00] for confidence building. But not only that, we had a lot of attention, you know, [00:12:05] from our tutors, it was also a problem based learning at the time. I remember that it was a new [00:12:10] system that they had introduced. Um, and I’d obviously come from the International Baccalaureate, [00:12:15] um, sixth form. So I was used to kind of going and a lot [00:12:20] of self-study and understanding, well, this is a problem and how do we solve it? And I thought [00:12:25] that it’s just a nice way to transition from International Baccalaureate to problem [00:12:30] based learning was the system I understood. But again, looking back like what fantastic [00:12:35] life skills that gives you as well that this is a problem, let’s analyse it. And now [00:12:40] let’s treatment plan or let’s just plan what the outcome has to be, or strategize [00:12:45] how we need to go from here. So not only did that really help when I, [00:12:50] um, started working as a dentist, but it also helped in life in general.

Speaker3: What [00:12:55] were you like in Manchester?

Speaker1: Oh, you’re gonna have to. I can’t give you all my secrets. [00:13:00] Um. Come on. But, um, you know, the two [00:13:05] years of independence from being at boarding school, I. I had the confidence, um, [00:13:10] I came in, and I was just ready to live life. I think I’m a [00:13:15] work hard, party hard girl, and I don’t think that’s ever died. I think that’s still there. That’s [00:13:20] the way you have to live life, you know? Um, make every moment count. [00:13:25] Uh, so, um, loved my social life at Manchester. Um, loved [00:13:30] to go out. But at the same time, I really, really enjoyed my [00:13:35] course. I enjoyed all the biological aspects of all of it, that biology side [00:13:40] and the first two years. And then I was so excited to get into the clinical years as well. So [00:13:45] it was almost like.

Speaker3: It’s not a common story. Uh, it’s [00:13:50] like it’s a lot of people are overwhelmed by the course.

Speaker1: Do you know what? [00:13:55]

Speaker3: Do you not feel that? Um.

Speaker1: I wouldn’t say overwhelmed because I think that, [00:14:00] you know, I’d been in a really competitive school, you know, until GCSEs. Then [00:14:05] I went into another competitive school on, on my own. So I guess in that sense, I wasn’t [00:14:10] overwhelmed. You know, I’d left home already. I’d already started to experience that. So [00:14:15] for me, it was. Yes, it’s another challenge. Um, bring it on. And yes, [00:14:20] you know what? Plus plus that Kenyan upbringing.

Speaker3: Right. That Kenyan upbringing [00:14:25] is like gold. I mean, when I think about the number of people who’ve sat here in front of us, I mean, [00:14:30] Prav your family as well, right? But from East Africa. Yeah. Drew [00:14:35] Vishal Shah, my favourite, my favourite episode of them all, by the way. So many, so [00:14:40] many people. That Kenyan upbringing is different. It’s something about that Kenyan upbringing can do part [00:14:45] of it and the community part of it.

Speaker1: Yeah, absolutely. Um, I think community [00:14:50] friends, the environment that you’re growing up in is, I think very [00:14:55] different. And I think environment is not people that always impact you. It’s also the environment [00:15:00] as well. And I think that moulds you, that moulds your mindset and the experiences that you have moulds your mindset. [00:15:05]

Speaker4: Sarika, I’m curious about um, so you just spoke about like you go from [00:15:10] boarding school to uni and now you can let your hair down, right? And let’s call it freedom. [00:15:15] Let’s, let’s call the word freedom. Right. But you went from Kenya to Kent and from [00:15:20] Kenya to Kent. They must have been a degree of right I can let loose now. Right. [00:15:25] Because I’m not under my parents watch or whatever, or it’s different. Or [00:15:30] the other thing is that, you know, I don’t know what your life was like in Kenya, but I’m guessing because [00:15:35] your family could afford to send you to Kent, that you had a pretty good life in Kenya, right? That [00:15:40] everything was taken care of, things were done for you, etc., etc. then you moved to [00:15:45] Kent and now it’s, hey, I’ve got to fend for myself, right? I’ve got to grow up. And when [00:15:50] you said that, that sort of reminded me of me going to uni for the first time and having to do [00:15:55] my own thing, right. So you grew up a lot quicker than I did exactly [00:16:00] at the point in your life, if that makes sense, because we’re forced to do that, right? [00:16:05] Yeah. But then there was another level of growing up when you went to went to what was just just talk me [00:16:10] through, like what was going through your mind then at that point when you moved from Kenya [00:16:15] to Kent, maybe the difference in culture or whatever and the growing up you did, [00:16:20] but then what was holding you back in Kent that allowed you to let loose in Manchester? What [00:16:25] what what.

Speaker3: Being a teenager?

Speaker1: Well, this is it, right? I think that growing up in [00:16:30] Kenya, um, it was a privilege. Also a sheltered upbringing. [00:16:35] Right. And I think, again, being in a boarding school. Environment. You’re still [00:16:40] sheltered, right? Um, but really, when you go to university, [00:16:45] you’re truly independent. You’re truly independent. There are certain expectations. [00:16:50] They definitely were for me because I was an international student in terms of education [00:16:55] and grades. But at the same time, it was the time where I started [00:17:00] to think, well, this is my life now. I get to make the decisions. [00:17:05] I get to choose, uh, and I can, I will, I can, [00:17:10] I’ll probably make mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes. And I also had some [00:17:15] wonderful times and incredible memories. And I feel that what [00:17:20] happens is that from the age of from the time you’re born until you’re 20 and [00:17:25] is the time when you don’t, you know, you don’t have that. You’re not born with a sense of self that normally [00:17:30] starts from the age of 0 to 3, and then until the age of 20 is when people. [00:17:35] So the people closest to you can influence and [00:17:40] impact the way you are and the way you think and the decisions you make from [00:17:45] the age of 20 onwards is when you start [00:17:50] to take control of your life, or can decide if you want to start taking control of your, you know you’re [00:17:55] under, you’re less under the influence of other people. And that’s when you start to [00:18:00] truly become independent. That’s when you start to take more responsibilities. [00:18:05] That’s when you have to start taking accountability for your actions. And [00:18:10] that’s when you know you really have the power of choice. It’s in your hands [00:18:15] on how you dictate your life and where you want to go from there.

Speaker3: Take us through the professional journey [00:18:20] after that. So you qualified. Where did you work first and then when did you get [00:18:25] into the idea of, you know, private dentistry okay. Quality.

Speaker1: So what a story here, [00:18:30] right. So I was an international student and that meant that [00:18:35] I really, really had to fight for a job. And at this time I didn’t want to go back to Kenya. [00:18:40] I wanted to stay in the UK and get my experience. So I don’t know if you remember Payman, [00:18:45] but at the time it was all it was about job shops, right? The country was was all split up into [00:18:50] deaneries and and every deanery had a job shop. So all the trainers would come [00:18:55] to this job shop and it was an opportunity for you to meet them. They might do a little mini interview at the [00:19:00] time, and I think I applied to every single deanery. And [00:19:05] I remember like printing all these CVS and cover letters, um, [00:19:10] for, oh my gosh, I think I applied to over 100, 120 jobs [00:19:15] at the time. And this is two months before my final exams. Right? And I remember [00:19:20] gallivanting around the country trying to go for interviews, and it was really [00:19:25] it was so chaotic. It was it was the first time I think I really felt stressed because, [00:19:30] you know, passing your exams is one thing. Uh, it’s kind of in my control. [00:19:35] But getting a job was partially in my control. And, and at the time, I think it’s a lot [00:19:40] fairer. I think the system now is, is a lot fairer. But at the time, you know, trainers, they [00:19:45] kind of already knew in their mind who they wanted, but they almost had to like interview people [00:19:50] just to show they were interviewing people.

Speaker1: Um, I remember going for, you know, travelling [00:19:55] from Manchester all the way down to the, to the, to the south coast. And it took me eight [00:20:00] hours. Um, and it cost, it cost me money. I only had a budget like a strict budget [00:20:05] then spent. So it cost me money going all the way down there. But wow, what a life lesson. [00:20:10] And I basically just ended up in East Anglia. Um, I was at the job [00:20:15] shop then, uh, tired because I was wearing like five inch heels, [00:20:20] which I was known for at the time, and I just took a rest and I thought, okay, I’m just going to go [00:20:25] to the bar and have a drink. And there was a man there having a beer, and we just [00:20:30] started talking and he said, well, yeah, I’m actually, um, a partner of a practice, [00:20:35] um, in Norwich, and I’m looking for a VC. [00:20:40] And we ended up just chatting, connecting, and he invited me to come and have a look at [00:20:45] the practice a few days later. And that was it. We signed, uh, the what was it, the [00:20:50] letter of intent at the time in a pub. And that’s how it happened. That’s how I [00:20:55] got my job.

Speaker3: Why was it more difficult for a foreign student [00:21:00] to get a job? Was it just a I mean, yeah, you feel like [00:21:05] that people thought that you can’t do the communication piece as well?

Speaker1: No. Um, [00:21:10] at the time, the rule was that the priority has to go to, uh, UK [00:21:15] born citizen.

Speaker3: Right? Oh I see, yes yes yes yes yes.

Speaker1: So we weren’t prioritised.

Speaker3: Okay. [00:21:20] So then that practice was mixed or what must be.

Speaker1: So it [00:21:25] was it was mostly an NHS practice. Um, it was um, it was [00:21:30] a group of practices that was owned by four partners, and there was a primary [00:21:35] partner and then three other partners, and they had 13 practices in and around Norwich. [00:21:40] Wow. Yeah. And then that transition. So it was all NHS. And then [00:21:45] what they did was they opened up later on. I think I was there for seven years by the way. [00:21:50] Um, but probably later on when I was kind of done my four years, they’d [00:21:55] opened up a few private practices, which I then had the opportunity to work in because I was doing my Masters [00:22:00] in restorative at the same time. So they allowed me to work in their private practice as well, which was great experience. [00:22:05]

Speaker3: So I can imagine the clinical lessons you were learning at these [00:22:10] times. Because, you know, the early days, we all go through those, you know, slow and then speed up, [00:22:15] make some mistakes, can’t talk all the things that people people suffer. But what about [00:22:20] the sort of business lessons you learned there? Because there must have been a load.

Speaker1: Yeah, absolutely. [00:22:25] So do you know what let’s let’s talk about, [00:22:30] you know, business and finance because everyone. It’s something you hear so [00:22:35] commonly that we’re taught how to be dentists and be good clinically, [00:22:40] but we’re not actually taught the business or the finance skills at university. Right? [00:22:45] Um, so. When I came into, [00:22:50] you know, after I’d done my bit and I was an associate again, it was like being at the [00:22:55] deep end when it came to business and understanding hourly rate. I remember [00:23:00] that was the first time that, uh, my trainer, who was then mentoring me as well, [00:23:05] spoke about, okay, you’ve got to start thinking of your hourly rates and, you know, you’ve got to start, [00:23:10] you know, you’ve got to hire an accountant. And it’s suddenly about taxes and, you [00:23:15] know, savings and pension fund and, and all these things that I’d never heard of before. [00:23:20] And. I think that the dialogue [00:23:25] that I’d had in my head until then was that this is really overwhelming, [00:23:30] because I’m not good with money. Okay. And if I look at my [00:23:35] relationship with money prior to that is that I had actually grown up in [00:23:40] a household where my father was a primary earner. [00:23:45] And he managed most of the money in the family. [00:23:50] So talking and discussing about managing money was never really [00:23:55] done when I was young. And then when I left for boarding school, I remember [00:24:00] him, you know, they were dropping me off and they said, oh gosh, we need to open a bank account for you. Remember [00:24:05] walking into HSBC and them opening a bank account, giving me a bank card? And again, it was like almost [00:24:10] given to me.

Speaker1: And here are some cheques. You just need to, you know, deposit a check every [00:24:15] month and that’s your budget. And again, you know, and I don’t think it was their intention, [00:24:20] um, not to teach me this, but it was almost like I [00:24:25] had to learn about managing money on my own. So [00:24:30] in terms of business skills, at the practice that I worked in, I got [00:24:35] to see how multiple practices were being run. I got [00:24:40] to see how staff were being managed, and I got to see how [00:24:45] budgets were used. Um, in terms of buying stock and, you know, how [00:24:50] equipment was managed because a lot of us dentists, we were working in 2 or 3 different practices [00:24:55] within the group. So we were carrying all our equipment. And we also had like a little tool [00:25:00] kit in case something broke down. We were given training on how to fix, you know, the little [00:25:05] thing here or there. Yeah, it was fantastic. Um, and I’ll never forget that because [00:25:10] I remember then transitioning to become an associate. And if something broke down, I wouldn’t [00:25:15] be like, oh my gosh, help me. I don’t know what’s going on here. I’d almost want to, you know, [00:25:20] try to figure out what was happening, um, and try to fix it myself if I could, [00:25:25] you know, at the time. So. I think that in terms of business [00:25:30] skills, I learned quite a few things. On reflection.

Speaker4: Sarika. [00:25:35] A lot of, um, a lot of, shall we say, associate associates [00:25:40] approached me and say, hey, Prav, I want to open my own practice now. Yeah. [00:25:45] And there’s two main reasons that they cite, and it’s really interesting that they say that [00:25:50] you’ll be able to speak from the lens of a practice owner now, but they say I’m giving away [00:25:55] 55% of my income to the practice. Right? [00:26:00] I want to keep 100% of my income. So reason one why they want to open a practice, [00:26:05] right? And reason two, which comes up a lot, is the patient journey [00:26:10] is not how I would like to treat patients. They do this wrong, [00:26:15] they do this wrong. And and I’m restricted with respect to how I can treat the patient [00:26:20] or what the journey is. And they want to create this new journey for the patient and [00:26:25] from a, from a blank canvas. And so practice ownership becomes the only thing [00:26:30] to do. Yeah. Out of curiosity in that experience, in your associate experience, [00:26:35] was there anything patient journey related where you thought, do you know what I want [00:26:40] to do this different? And what were those things?

Speaker1: Absolutely. I [00:26:45] think everyone has different experiences when they work as an associates. And [00:26:50] you come at some point, you come to this realisation of what [00:26:55] kind of dentist do you want to want to be? And I think it starts off from there. [00:27:00] Okay. What kind of dentist do you want to be? And I think that’s really powerful, by the way, [00:27:05] when someone does get to that point, and when I was working [00:27:10] as an associate, there were so many things that I saw in terms of management, [00:27:15] in terms of patient journey, in terms of the care that I wanted to give patients. Right. [00:27:20] And and that, you know, Interlinks with the type of clinical dentistry that I was doing as [00:27:25] well. But you’re so naive at that time because you don’t actually you’re [00:27:30] not actually managing your staff. You’re not actually paying for things. You don’t actually [00:27:35] know the costs of things right at the time. You have all these hopes and dreams [00:27:40] and desires and you think, well, okay, in order to get from A to B and really [00:27:45] kind of practice the dentistry, I want to practice and give that patient journey and the patient care that I [00:27:50] want to give, the only way forward is to open a practice. But [00:27:55] then the hard lessons are in front of you, and they’re the challenges that you then have to face [00:28:00] that it’s not it’s not that easy. It’s not that easy to develop [00:28:05] a patient journey that’s flawless. It’s not that easy to give 100% patient care every [00:28:10] single time because the entire team is involved, not just you, and you have to manage everyone [00:28:15] else around it. And then of course, things cost money. So if you want your patients [00:28:20] to experience a really good journey. And you know you want your staff to be happy. [00:28:25] Um, yes. You have to bring things like create the culture and the value. [00:28:30] Uh, you know, values and things like that, which I’m very pro, by the way, and I love doing with [00:28:35] my team. But at the same time, it costs money. It takes time. [00:28:40] And, you know, it’s it’s a big learning curve, a steep learning curve.

Speaker4: And [00:28:45] so what part specifically of the patient journey during your [00:28:50] time as a say a non principal or non practice owner. [00:28:55] Were you passionate about that you wanted to change. Do you know what that [00:29:00] weren’t right. And have you put them right now or have you struck. It sounds like you’ve [00:29:05] struggled to put them right as everyone does because we paint this ideal of what it should be. But then [00:29:10] the reality kicks in of team management and all the rest of it. You’ve alluded to [00:29:15] but but what specifically? I’m really curious about that, because the dentist who I speak to have [00:29:20] different ideals and they’re not always the same. So I’m just wondering what yours yours were.

Speaker1: Yeah, [00:29:25] absolutely. And to be honest with you, it was part of my business plan was to have [00:29:30] that that full flow from beginning to end of the patient journey. [00:29:35] And I think that when there is a break in that, then that’s when [00:29:40] it starts to affect patient journey and patient care. So what I realised, my experience is working as an associate, [00:29:45] was that often receptionists would pick up the phone and adhere their, their tone [00:29:50] and the way they were speaking to patients wasn’t very welcoming. I would then do everything [00:29:55] I could bend over backwards to give them the best care, and sometimes then there wasn’t great [00:30:00] aftercare, you know? Again, phone call, check out, check in. You know, all [00:30:05] of that just wasn’t done the way I, I thought it should be done. And [00:30:10] so was actually part of my business plan is patient journey and patient care is is at the core [00:30:15] of everything that I want my practice to be about. Um, and therefore everyone [00:30:20] is trained on that from day dot. Right. And there is continuous [00:30:25] training on that as we move forward. It’s always something that we talk about. It’s always [00:30:30] something that we prioritise as almost being the USP [00:30:35] in our practice as well. And honestly, our practice has grown organically. [00:30:40]

Speaker1: You know, we’ve hardly had to do huge amounts of marketing and marketing, um, huge [00:30:45] amounts of advertisement. And it’s down to building our reputation, you know, it’s just [00:30:50] down to trying to understand what is it that patients want, what is it they need? And incorporating it in the patient [00:30:55] journey. People think patient journey is just a line from A to B. It’s not. It’s so [00:31:00] much more complex than that. There’s so much more that you have to add along the way. So [00:31:05] then and then you have to refine everything as you’re going along the way, right? And you have to [00:31:10] almost be accountable for everything, um, along the way as well. And then do that constant training. So [00:31:15] not only is it being sustained, you’re getting better and better and better [00:31:20] at it. Right. Um, and it’s again down to systems and processes in the practice. [00:31:25] It’s um, it’s down to having, uh, certain standards. So standardising [00:31:30] that if someone came to see me and I give them a particular [00:31:35] service, if they went to see one of my associates, they’re getting exactly the same service. It’s not like I went to see the principal [00:31:40] of the practice. It’s like I went to see someone at this practice, and it was an incredible. [00:31:45]

Speaker4: And then at what point did Rishi come in? At what point did. Because [00:31:50] Rishi, for those who don’t know, Rishi is your your your husband and your, shall [00:31:55] we say, business partner, but he runs the business with you and um. Yeah, I’ve had the I’ve had the privilege [00:32:00] of obviously working with you guys and having lengthy conversations both with Rishi and yourself. [00:32:05] And I think certainly for me, that the more successful [00:32:10] practices that I work with are those that have family involved, right? [00:32:15] It can also cause problems as well. I’ve seen I’ve seen that too. Right. But actually having [00:32:20] that person on board that you can give 100% trust to and you’ve both got the same [00:32:25] vision. So tell us about when Rishi came into your life. Um, and then [00:32:30] how that evolved in, in the, in the practice. Did you, did you buy it together? [00:32:35] Did he come along later? What was the chronology of all of that? And what does Rishi do in [00:32:40] the practice? Sure.

Speaker1: So when I was an associate and I was reflecting back and I [00:32:45] wanted to buy the practice that that seed was planted, okay, I knew that I wanted to go in a different direction. [00:32:50] My brother, who’s five years younger than me, was also a dentist, and [00:32:55] I remember having a conversation. He said, look, you know, we’re both dentists. It only makes sense that we do this together. [00:33:00] My brother lived in Manchester at the time, okay, and we lived in London, [00:33:05] so there was obviously that distance and we started the journey. We started looking at practices [00:33:10] and Rishi was very much involved in looking at the financial [00:33:15] side because that’s Rishi’s background. Okay. He was in finance. He was still working in finance [00:33:20] at the time. So we kind of leveraged his, you know, on his knowledge and [00:33:25] his skills. Um, and, you know, we just thought, well, here he can contribute really well here. And [00:33:30] we learned things along the way as well. Um, you know, about some of the profitability, finances, [00:33:35] you know, accounts in that side of things. And in the end, it didn’t work out with my brother because they [00:33:40] decided to stay in the Midlands. Um, and then so, you [00:33:45] know, I said, well, I still want to go down this route. Are you happy to help me? And she said, yeah, absolutely. So we were still looking [00:33:50] at practices and then he started getting more and more interested in it. And, [00:33:55] and then he said to me, do you know, one day he said, darling, would it be [00:34:00] okay if we if we did this together? Um, and you know, we’ve got, we’ve [00:34:05] got fantastic.

Speaker1: You know, we’ve got skills on, on either end. You’ve got you can be the kind of clinical [00:34:10] director in that side of it and take control of that. And I can help with the whole, um, [00:34:15] you know, financial side of it, the marketing, um, you know, and, [00:34:20] you know, also help with like, management of staff and, but take over the entire [00:34:25] finance side of it. And it just worked out really well because we’ve got completely different [00:34:30] skill sets. But there are two strong skill sets that you need to run [00:34:35] a practice really efficiently. And yeah, we [00:34:40] started our journey. So basically when we bought the practice where she was still working in banking, [00:34:45] um, we wanted to kind of we’d invested a lot of money, we’d taken a lot of risk. [00:34:50] Um, and just a few years prior, we’d bought our first property as well. So, um, [00:34:55] he just said that. Look, until the finances, you know, work out, personal finances work out, I’ll [00:35:00] continue to work. So he was working two jobs, I remember, you know, working very late at night, [00:35:05] both of us, you know, um, so the first few years were really tough, and then he transitioned [00:35:10] into working full time. And yeah, we’re we’re a 5050 partnership in the practice.

Speaker3: Tell [00:35:15] us the the steps you went through to actually conceive the practice. I mean, were you thinking [00:35:20] squat? Were you thinking buyer practice? Were both things in your head? And [00:35:25] then something shifted you one way or the other?

Speaker1: Yeah, absolutely. Um, it was, it was looking [00:35:30] at both. And I think you have to look at both options. Uh, it’s just about the opportunity [00:35:35] that came our way. I mean, Payman, you’ve been to our practice, right? Like, what’s not to love [00:35:40] about that building? It is just we. I just fell in love with it. [00:35:45]

Speaker3: Was it existing or did you was existing. Did you start it yourself? You started yourself? No, [00:35:50] I was existing practice.

Speaker1: Yeah, but it was a very small, slow two surgery practice [00:35:55] and we just saw opportunity. I mean, she’s I remember him coming home and saying [00:36:00] I’ve found this fancy practice and you’re going to love it. I know you’re going to love it. And [00:36:05] you know, we both just fell in love with it. Him because of the financial [00:36:10] possibility of what he could achieve from that side. And, and for me, about [00:36:15] what I could create and what I could do and the building and the vibe and the energy [00:36:20] and all of that, like, you know, was was just so in sync with who I was. So [00:36:25] it was a great synergy.

Speaker3: Were you sure it was going to be in Docklands? Did you know that already before? [00:36:30] You know, was that the only place you were looking?

Speaker1: No, not at all. And it was we were living literally on the other side of the river, [00:36:35] so we can see the building from our where we lived in our apartment and where we lived. But absolutely [00:36:40] not. I think when you’re when you’re looking for a practice, you’ve got to explore [00:36:45] all options. You’ve. Go to explore squat practice. You’ve got to explore [00:36:50] an existing practice. And you know, of course, you [00:36:55] know, we wanted it to be, you know, somewhere that was close ish for us to get to because [00:37:00] we know that we have to spend a lot of time there. So that was important. Um, but at the same [00:37:05] time, we were willing to move for the right practice as well. You know, we were we didn’t we didn’t have any children at the time. [00:37:10] So in that sense, we had the flexibility. But it was about the [00:37:15] right practice. And I think it’s a really important, um, that [00:37:20] you know exactly what you want and then you take your time [00:37:25] to look for it if you’re going to invest in something like that.

Speaker3: So [00:37:30] what what were your you know, we’ve got lots of moving parts when you buy a practice. Right. Should it be, [00:37:35] you know, leasehold, freehold. How big how many people potential for for growth. [00:37:40] What what what were your sort of red lines. What were you saying. Were you saying I definitely want a place that [00:37:45] I can do up and grow, or were you saying it has to be fully [00:37:50] private or what were the what were the parameters that you were looking in?

Speaker1: Yeah, absolutely. [00:37:55] And I think it’s important that you have parameters. Right. So again, really understanding what you [00:38:00] want. So definitely at the time I the type of dentistry I was doing, I was already [00:38:05] working in, you know, a private practice and I wanted it to be fully private. And it was an [00:38:10] existing private practice that we bought in terms of leasehold freehold to us. We were [00:38:15] exploring all options, but we definitely wanted a site where we [00:38:20] could grow in. So in terms of the the layout and the space and looking [00:38:25] at that, I mean, this was AA2 surgery practice that turned into a very vibrant and busy [00:38:30] four surgery practice. Right? So we were able to do that over two refurbishments. And [00:38:35] yeah, you always want the potential for growth.

Speaker3: So how many people was it when [00:38:40] you how many people was it when you bought it and how many people you know.

Speaker1: Gosh, there was seven people, [00:38:45] including everybody. And now we both are lead a team of [00:38:50] 25.

Speaker3: Wow. Since 2017.

Speaker1: Oh, it’s seven years. [00:38:55]

Speaker3: Oh excellent.

Speaker4: So when you when you bought the practice, [00:39:00] um, a lot of people say to me that, um, after buying the practice, they uncover some skeletons, [00:39:05] right, that they didn’t know about when they, when they signed on the dotted line. [00:39:10] And was there anything like that that came any kind of surprises or shocks during the early days where you [00:39:15] thought, oh, crap, I’ve got to deal with this now? And what were the what were the most challenging things [00:39:20] in the in the early days of, um, buying an existing practice? Okay.

Speaker1: So [00:39:25] I’d say the first thing that comes to memory is, is staff. Okay. You come [00:39:30] in with all these different ideas about how you want your team to be, but [00:39:35] you’re taking over an existing team that is run and managed very, very differently. So [00:39:40] you can bring in all your ideas and, you [00:39:45] know, and again, they’re they’ve been sat in a comfort zone. So you’re going to come in with all these different changes. [00:39:50] And some staff will be excited by that and some just won’t be. And I think you’ve got to be quite thick skinned [00:39:55] about that. Um, and you’ve got to start learning about recruitment [00:40:00] and how to recruit. So I’d say that was the number one challenge that [00:40:05] we faced when we first bought the practice. And then the second thing was probably [00:40:10] just structural, structural things like in terms of, you know, when you it’s like going to buy [00:40:15] a house, right? It’s exactly the same thing. You get like a really short opportunity to go in [00:40:20] and, and, and see, it’s not like a test drive that you get to like work in it or live in [00:40:25] it. I mean, some people, you know, may have the privilege to do that, but, you know, we just had a quick, you know, look [00:40:30] at the practice and and then that was it.

Speaker1: Make a decision because there’s [00:40:35] people competing, you know, against this in this buying process. So we had to be quite quick. [00:40:40] Um, so structurally for sure, I remember our deacon room and how everything [00:40:45] was just literally breaking down. And I was thinking, oh my goodness, how did we not see this when we when, [00:40:50] when when we walked around? How could we, you know, miss miss these things. But but that was [00:40:55] it, to be honest with you. And then it was just about clearing up and the mess [00:41:00] and, and you know, all the paperwork and the boxes and all this kind of stuff. And I’m [00:41:05] a very organised person. So thank God for that skill because, um, I spent many, [00:41:10] many Saturdays and Sundays, you know, with, with my marigolds on and, you know, like [00:41:15] going through all these boxes and, and, you know, going through all this mess. So [00:41:20] I think just be prepared potentially for that. But it depends on the type of practice you’re buying. Right. [00:41:25] Sure.

Speaker4: Of course. Um, sureka. Let’s let’s move on now [00:41:30] to, um, your journey today, which is very different from, well, obviously, [00:41:35] whatever, whatever you do in the past shapes your future. Right? But a [00:41:40] lot of the content that you seem to be putting out right now is, is more, um, inspirational, aspirational. [00:41:45] Motivational in terms of its, um, vibe and, [00:41:50] um, what sort of instigated that? What was the what was the driving force [00:41:55] behind that? And then, um, you know, I remember speaking to you a few [00:42:00] months ago and you said to me, Prav, you know what? I really want to do something [00:42:05] different for women in dentistry. I feel they’re underrepresented. [00:42:10] I feel that there’s so much more we can do [00:42:15] for them. And I want to help. So I want to put a course together to [00:42:20] help women in dentistry. So I think my first question is, what is it specifically [00:42:25] about women in dentistry that is is different and more more difficult, [00:42:30] should we say for you guys? And then what is it that drove that [00:42:35] motivation.

Speaker1: Yeah, absolutely. So look, I think since I’ve [00:42:40] graduated I’ve noticed a huge progression, right, in [00:42:45] dentistry, but not just on the clinical side of the profession, but in the industry as, [00:42:50] as a whole. Okay. And for most of my career so far, I’ve been really passionate about [00:42:55] dentistry. However, I think that I have definitely [00:43:00] faced obstacles and I’ve definitely faced challenges, um, in [00:43:05] my career so far. And it’s been on reflection of some of the barriers that [00:43:10] I face and that I’ve experienced. And then, you know, over the last, I’d say [00:43:15] 7 or 8 years, I’ve been having countless conversations with women in [00:43:20] dentistry, not just clinical side of dentistry, but also the industry side [00:43:25] of dentistry. And and I’ve started to notice that there’s a trend that [00:43:30] a lot of us are facing similar barriers, and maybe not all the ones that I’ve [00:43:35] experienced, but a lot of women are facing the same barriers. And I started to, you know, I started to discuss [00:43:40] it with my husband and my friends and other dentists. That why why are we not discussing this more? [00:43:45] Why is there not more kind of education around how women can [00:43:50] overcome barriers, um, in dentistry? And look, if you look at the statistics [00:43:55] of how things are now, you know, 50% or more of graduates are female, [00:44:00] right? So then I started to question, well, in this profession [00:44:05] that I love, what is the future of dentistry actually look like? Right. If many of us are are [00:44:10] facing barriers such as potentially lack of confidence or management of [00:44:15] time or our relationship with money and all these common, you know, these, these common [00:44:20] beliefs that we have, then what is the future of dentistry actually look like? Last [00:44:25] year I climbed Kilimanjaro, and part of that climb was for me to find [00:44:30] my purpose and to get clarity on my purpose. And I feel [00:44:35] like it’s almost like a mission for me now to really [00:44:40] reach out to women, inspire them, motivate them, and, [00:44:45] you know, for them to feel like they are extremely strong leaders in [00:44:50] the dental field.

Speaker4: Sarika, what are the most common barriers? You mentioned a [00:44:55] few barriers there, and a couple of them, um, you mentioned would be barriers that are, you know, [00:45:00] um, experienced by both men and women, right? So for example, relationship with money or finances [00:45:05] and things like that. So I want to dig into more specifically the sort of things [00:45:10] that, you know, women in dentistry have reached out to you about and maybe some of your own barriers that [00:45:15] you’ve faced. Um, as a female in dentistry, you know, whether it revolves [00:45:20] around being a wife, a mother and a business owner all at once and trying to manage [00:45:25] that juggle, that juggling act. What are some of the most common barriers [00:45:30] that you’ve heard about or experienced yourself? Sure.

Speaker1: So I think when I first [00:45:35] started off as a young dentist, um, in that practice that I worked in, it was a very male dominated [00:45:40] profession. And at the time, and on [00:45:45] a social level, I would say there was a lack of. And [00:45:50] socially what what what the practice did for other women. There was lots of social [00:45:55] events that were planned for men, but very little for women. So not not only [00:46:00] were the men kind of had the opportunity to connect, and the opportunities for women [00:46:05] to connect were only happening at work and not outside of work. And I also thought that [00:46:10] there was a lack of female to female support. I only [00:46:15] ever went to my, my, um, my male, um, dentist, [00:46:20] you know, dentist friends for help, for support and for mentorship, but very little. There was [00:46:25] very little female to female support. I also think, relatively speaking, that dentistry [00:46:30] is quite a daunting to career to work in, especially in the initial years. You’re [00:46:35] expected to competently work on your own from day one, and [00:46:40] not only is that challenging on so many levels, but it can be really isolating and [00:46:45] confidence. I think it’s important for us to talk about confidence, you know, two huge [00:46:50] qualities that are correlated in dentistry and in today’s world [00:46:55] are confidence and effective communication. So what [00:47:00] I realised with myself and countless conversations that I’ve had with women on this topic, [00:47:05] is that women often have the competence, but they don’t have the confidence [00:47:10] in many situations. And it’s almost the opposite for men sometimes [00:47:15] I think. But, but, but you know, when, when [00:47:20] and I mean that very respectfully.

Speaker1: But, um, when we talk about confidence [00:47:25] in particular, I think that there are two types of confidence that people have. And it’s important to talk about [00:47:30] this. There’s an outer confidence on how you behave in your environment [00:47:35] and rely on what other people think of us. And then there is an inner confidence [00:47:40] in how you accept and trust yourself and almost have a sense of control in [00:47:45] your life. So personally, I would say that for most of my life, [00:47:50] though I had portrayed outer confidence, I didn’t have much inner confidence. Uh, [00:47:55] and because of that, I suffered with a lot of stress, anxiety, imposter [00:48:00] thoughts, fear, self-judgment, and perfectionism. And [00:48:05] not just in relation to my clinical dentistry, but in other aspects of my life, too. So, [00:48:10] you know, we should identify that confidence or a lack of confidence. [00:48:15] It’s a very gender neutral concept, and everyone will be confident and not confident about [00:48:20] something. But and I think there’s a big debate around stereotyping that [00:48:25] outcomes and of decisions that women make are due to a lack of self confidence. [00:48:30] And I don’t think we should go into that because it’s more important to discuss why [00:48:35] some women suffer with a lack of confidence. And if I may continue, [00:48:40] I think in my opinion, this comes down to two things. So [00:48:45] the first is our environment and what we see as [00:48:50] women. We’ve grown up and we still live and work in quite a male dominated environment. [00:48:55] Yes, things are changing, but it’s definitely not happening at the magnitude and speed at which [00:49:00] we think it’s changing.

Speaker1: And, you know, we’ve started to see that shift in the last [00:49:05] few years in dentistry where women are not only showcasing incredible [00:49:10] clinical skills, but they’re more involved in teaching and lecturing. [00:49:15] They’re building and developing more businesses and clinics and [00:49:20] taking on bigger leadership roles. And I just want to maybe take this opportunity right now to acknowledge [00:49:25] and commend those serious female powerhouses that are out there, although worldwide, [00:49:30] we have noticed that, like I said, there’s that huge movement [00:49:35] in female empowerment, but the speed at which it’s happening is, is [00:49:40] not at what we think it is, especially because some of the choices [00:49:45] and opportunities that women have had have only really happened within the last hundred years or so, [00:49:50] many of which have happened in the last 50 years. So for the majority [00:49:55] of women in our life, we’ve been influenced by a male dominated world. You know, we’ve we’ve [00:50:00] lived in patriarchy for so long, and for those women that are already making it, they’ve had to [00:50:05] overcome some pretty big biases and challenges. And again, you know, just [00:50:10] to let you both know, this is a really common conversation, a topic of conversation, [00:50:15] um, amongst women. And I think the second reason behind a lack of self-confidence [00:50:20] sometimes is our upbringing to some degree, um, namely cultures and beliefs. [00:50:25] And I’d like to maybe discuss one aspect of this, and it’s called the [00:50:30] The Good Girl syndrome. Have either of you heard of this? The good girl syndrome? Yeah, yeah. [00:50:35] Um, be a.

Speaker3: Good girl and do the.

Speaker1: Exactly. Um, and, you know, [00:50:40] it’s often used in our childhood by our caregivers. So the good girl syndrome is basically just [00:50:45] the manifestation of traits valued and praised amongst little girls, [00:50:50] and how deviating from those traits makes them feel guilty or fearful of [00:50:55] being judged, constantly seeking validation from others and the need [00:51:00] to excel in everything that they do. So they’re setting themselves really, really high standards all the time [00:51:05] and almost being perfect. And this inability to say no, um, and [00:51:10] being afraid of upsetting others. So it’s no wonder, with this kind of conditioning, [00:51:15] that many women develop scripts, mindset, beliefs that [00:51:20] lead to them suffering with fear, self-doubt, impostor thoughts, perfectionism, [00:51:25] people pleasing um, and a lack of deep inner confidence. [00:51:30]

Speaker4: I’ve got a question. I’ve got a question related to that, which is, um, it relates [00:51:35] to children, actually, because, um, what you just brought up there is, is [00:51:40] be a be a good girl in that. So, so you actually it’s almost like [00:51:45] you get this definition of what being a good girl is, and then you don’t want to be a [00:51:50] bad girl. So you you behave in that certain way and you become conditioned, right? Absolutely. [00:51:55] But boy or girl with our with our children. Right. We can say things to [00:52:00] our kids, right? Oh, you’re a really good girl. You’re a good boy, you’re a good kid, blah blah, [00:52:05] blah, blah, blah. And unknowingly, we could be conditioning them into [00:52:10] what is good or bad. And on the whole, I believe we should teach our teach [00:52:15] our kids, um, you know, how to behave and set examples for them and stuff. But [00:52:20] has that impacted the way you, you interact with, with your kids and what you say and how you communicate [00:52:25] with them? Our curiosity.

Speaker1: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that [00:52:30] you’re right. We we use we use that phrase quite a bit. Right. Like be a good boy [00:52:35] and do this. Or if you’re not going to be a good boy, you’re going to be naughty. You won’t get that. But yeah, [00:52:40] you know, we’ve got to be careful on how we use that phrase. I think it’s [00:52:45] really important. And I think modern parenting, there is a bit more awareness around [00:52:50] how we use that phrase, uh, phrase. Because, you know, we recognise that, [00:52:55] especially me as a woman. I feel that I’ve recognised through my upbringing how much it’s affected [00:53:00] me. And I have memories of, you know, being the older sibling as well that, [00:53:05] you know, I’d be playing with, with with my with my brother. Um, he’s [00:53:10] trying to snatch a toy from me. And this happens over and over again. He’s trying to snatch a toy from me. And my parents would say, [00:53:15] do you know what? I’ll give it to your brother. You’re such a good girl, you know? And everything was. You’re such a good girl. You’re [00:53:20] such a good girl. And for such a long time, you know, we I had that fear [00:53:25] of judgement from people, you know, for so long.

Speaker1: And it’s crazy how powerful that is, because [00:53:30] it really stops you from moving forward and achieving [00:53:35] goals, or trying something new and taking on a new challenge and also constantly [00:53:40] seeking validation. You know, it was it was only, you know. I’d say maybe ten years [00:53:45] ago, where I looked at myself and I thought, gosh, I’m so proud of myself for [00:53:50] achieving what I’ve achieved because I’ve been through a lot. And, you know, I don’t talk about enough. But how [00:53:55] often do we say that we’re proud of ourselves and what we’ve achieved? Right. And I [00:54:00] think we came from a generation where parents didn’t necessarily tell you that. And I think, [00:54:05] I think my parents told me that, you know, they were proud of me for me just a few years ago. You [00:54:10] know, they look back at my life. I was so proud of you. And I’m like, thanks. I’ve never heard you say that before. [00:54:15] And again, not intentionally right. But I think that culturally it [00:54:20] wasn’t just we weren’t given, you know, that that validation.

Speaker3: So does your [00:54:25] course cover this aspect as well?

Speaker1: Absolutely. Okay. So I guess [00:54:30] let’s talk about the course okay. The course is around self leadership [00:54:35] for for women in dentistry. And I think that there is a difference [00:54:40] between leadership and self leadership. And we should understand what that what that difference is. [00:54:45] And I’d like to bring some clarity around that. So leadership is defined as the ability [00:54:50] to lead other people. So there’s an external motivation. However [00:54:55] the more common leadership training um that will [00:55:00] teach elements of self leadership like having certain thoughts, behaviours and attributes. So [00:55:05] if you both visualise a beautiful tree, we’ll call it the leadership [00:55:10] tree. And this tree has roots, a tree trunk and branches. The [00:55:15] self leadership is the roots and the skills of self. Leadership is the roots. The [00:55:20] trunk is is macro or external leadership skills and [00:55:25] the branches are the different types of leadership roles and styles. So [00:55:30] self leadership the rules, the roots, sorry [00:55:35] is the fundamental base of any leadership. It’s [00:55:40] having a true sense of who you really are, the potential of what you can [00:55:45] do. So the power of choice and have full clarity on your goals [00:55:50] where you’re going, coupled with the ability to be able to intentionally [00:55:55] with full control influence your thinking, your feelings, and your actions on the way to getting there. [00:56:00] So with Self-leadership skills, you’re able to successfully [00:56:05] navigate, thrive, and succeed through life’s challenges. Master [00:56:10] self-awareness. Self-confidence. Self-management. Make time work for you. [00:56:15] Decrease stress and overwhelm. Be resilient in the face of adversity. [00:56:20] Find meaning and purpose in your greater.

Speaker1: Why. Understand [00:56:25] from your individual strengths and how to leverage them. Experience [00:56:30] better relationships with others around you, at home and at work, and [00:56:35] beginning to live life with real intentionality and literally [00:56:40] be the most authentic version of yourself every single day. So [00:56:45] by practising and mastering self-leadership, you’re developing [00:56:50] your your inner game, okay? And your inner game consists of your mindset, which is intention, [00:56:55] self-awareness like your authenticity, self-confidence, self-belief, self-management, [00:57:00] which is self-motivation. And then with this and having more clarity around [00:57:05] it, your choices and decisions, you positively influence your outer game and [00:57:10] that’s your actions. So I believe that self leadership, through [00:57:15] my own experience, is the foundation for being an effective human [00:57:20] in the current contemporary world that that we live in. And [00:57:25] once you understand that, you can start to master your macro external leadership [00:57:30] skills and then move on to more niche leadership styles. So [00:57:35] a lot of people ask me that, you know, does does self leadership mean that [00:57:40] you’re going to suddenly transition in this world? Um, and [00:57:45] it’s not necessarily that. Um, so being a self leader doesn’t, [00:57:50] you know, doesn’t mean that you have to be a leader in the traditional traditional sense. Right? Not [00:57:55] everyone wants to lead. So the world needs both leaders and followers. And [00:58:00] I guess I truly believe that if you can’t effectively lead others [00:58:05] in any aspect of your life, then you [00:58:10] know you can’t effectively lead others in any aspect of your life if you can’t lead yourself first. And [00:58:15] that’s so important.

Speaker3: But the you know, it’s a bit like [00:58:20] asking, um, how do I lose weight? Well, you go to the gym and you eat good [00:58:25] food. The information, but the execution on it, [00:58:30] the mindset it takes to turn up for yourself. I find [00:58:35] that the real challenge because I’ll turn up for others. But for yourself, what’s [00:58:40] the what’s a hack you can use to take care of that?

Speaker1: So look, [00:58:45] mindset and mindset shift, which is a huge part of self leadership. You’ve [00:58:50] got to be able to understand that because a lot of what the habits that are already set in us [00:58:55] is from experience and from from, from previous beliefs. Right. And [00:59:00] the good thing is the brain is mouldable and that there are strategies on [00:59:05] how you can change that mindset and make that shift. But look, [00:59:10] I mean payment, you have to realise that you want the change first, right? [00:59:15] You have to realise, you know, where is it you want to go, what kind of life [00:59:20] do you really want to live? Right? And once you have that set [00:59:25] in stone, then you’re ready to then use all the strategies, um, from [00:59:30] self leadership, create that mindset change. And then it’s all about intentionality, [00:59:35] accountability, responsibility. And then moving on from there.

Speaker3: I know, but [00:59:40] I want to live a skinny life. That’s the life. Change. [00:59:45] It’s lovely. It’s lovely.

Speaker1: You know, I’ve been through that myself, you know, [00:59:50] I’m.

Speaker3: Sure you, you.

Speaker1: Know, and you know, I feel like I’m very age positive. [00:59:55] And I feel I’m in my 40s now, and I’m probably in terms of my fitness, [01:00:00] um, and my ability, my energy. I’m the best that I’ve been possibly [01:00:05] ever in my life. Really? Absolutely. And again, it was just down [01:00:10] to, first of all, understanding, why do I why do I want to change? [01:00:15] Why do I want to lose weight? Why do I want to be in this state of energy and and creating [01:00:20] that why? And then having a system put in place in terms of your diet [01:00:25] and your exercise and making them non-negotiables right in our life. And I think [01:00:30] Rishi and I have created such a great balance in our lives. And even when it comes to time management [01:00:35] for our business, what we do and our son, we’ve made all [01:00:40] our exercise in our health a non-negotiable. So it’s totally possible [01:00:45] to like that.

Speaker3: Let’s finish with the darker side. [01:00:50] When we on this pod, we like to look at errors. Mistakes in the hope that [01:00:55] we can all learn from them. When I when I say clinical mistakes, [01:01:00] what comes to mind?

Speaker1: Gosh. One one [01:01:05] dark, dark memory. So. At university, [01:01:10] we didn’t have a lot of clinical experience with molar endo. And [01:01:15] so I think I just done one more llorando when I graduated. Right. [01:01:20] And then in my VCE, that’s it. You’re you’re working in NHS practice. [01:01:25] You have to face it. Everything that comes in, you’re responsible for every single person [01:01:30] that comes through that door. And I remember seeing this molar endo that [01:01:35] that I had to do was really nervous about it. I was going through all my notes again. I was talking to, you [01:01:40] know, my friends, mentors, and basically I had [01:01:45] over extruded in, in all all the canals. And the smaller [01:01:50] endo had failed about a year on and another dentist [01:01:55] then took it out. I had the tooth had to be extracted, so extracted it and [01:02:00] you could see the little bit of GP at the end of the roots. And I remember a [01:02:05] nurse going around and having this tooth on the tissue and showing it to everyone and saying, look, [01:02:10] Sarika did this endo, you know, um, and that was a devastating. [01:02:15]

Speaker3: How did that happen?

Speaker1: Devastating for me.

Speaker3: How did that happen that [01:02:20] last piece.

Speaker1: Yeah. Gosh I mean this is it. Right. And [01:02:25] she was she was my nurse. She was my nurse in my PT. And you know, something I haven’t spoken about today was, [01:02:30] um, that I was bullied by her in, in my year, um, [01:02:35] and kind of had to face that challenge as well. So. It was just one of those [01:02:40] things. And I think you just have to know that as a dentist, [01:02:45] you have a huge responsibility, right? You’re building your experience with time, and you [01:02:50] have to be patient and kind to yourself. Um, as you progress through your career, you [01:02:55] have to own your mistakes and, you know, reflect on them, learn from [01:03:00] them, and just be better. Be better every single day. But, [01:03:05] you know, all of us know that it’s it’s experience comes with time. You’re always going to [01:03:10] have challenges, all different types of challenges, but it’s about facing them. And then, [01:03:15] you know, being able to make the right decisions and make the right choices [01:03:20] and then move on from there.

Speaker3: What about if we were to push the rewind button [01:03:25] on platinum? Back to the day you started. Now, knowing [01:03:30] what you know now, what different decisions would you make?

Speaker1: Gosh. [01:03:35] Um.

Speaker3: Would you do something earlier [01:03:40] or.

Speaker1: Do you know what? No. Because, um, that triggered you [01:03:45] won’t believe it. But that moment actually triggered my decision [01:03:50] to then do my mjff and then do my MSC in restorative [01:03:55] Easemon. I just, I told myself, and I don’t know, you know, I [01:04:00] guess that with every challenge we talk about resilience. With [01:04:05] that challenge, there’s there’s trauma attached to it. Right. And we’re not good about talking about that trauma. [01:04:10] So you can you know, a lot of people kind of react to that trauma. And I guess that [01:04:15] that was my reaction to the trauma. And I told myself that I wanted to be the best. [01:04:20] I would never let this ever, ever, ever happen again. I would take 100% responsibility. [01:04:25] And for every single treatment that came my way, I would just make sure that [01:04:30] I’d done my best. And if it was out of my skill set, I’m not going to be scared [01:04:35] about asking for help anymore. I’m not going to be scared just to kind of hit the [01:04:40] pause button and just be like, you know what? This is out of my skill set, and I just [01:04:45] need to think about this a little bit more. And what it did was it just took a bit [01:04:50] of bit of fear away. It really it was like a bit of a punch in the face, to be honest with you. [01:04:55] And it took a bit of the fear away, but it had a really positive impact.

Speaker3: Often [01:05:00] look at. Often the worst thing that happens to you in your life is ends up being the best [01:05:05] thing because of forms you, doesn’t it? That it changes changes who [01:05:10] you are. And you know when there’s a whole podcast called How to Fail. [01:05:15] It’s where they come in with their three biggest failures. And then and then they talk about how [01:05:20] brilliant it was for their lives. Yeah, we’re coming to the end of our time. Prav.

Speaker4: Um, [01:05:25] I guess that leaves us to tap into our final questions. [01:05:30] But just before we do that, Sarika, um, for those, um, out there listening [01:05:35] to this podcast, if they wanted to find out more information about your upcoming course that [01:05:40] you’re going to be running, how would they do that?

Speaker1: Okay. So they can access [01:05:45] my website, which is flourish as a, and [01:05:50] they can also DM me on my Instagram platform which is Doctor Sarika Shah. [01:05:55] So absolutely. And they can go and learn about everything about the course [01:06:00] on their.

Speaker4: And we will. We will put the link to your website in the [01:06:05] show notes as well, so people can just click straight through if they if they want to find that. Um, just to, just [01:06:10] to make it a little bit easier. Fantastic. But on to our final question, Sarika. Let’s say, [01:06:15] um, you get to the the it’s your final day on the planet, right? And, um, [01:06:20] you’ve got your loved ones around you, and you had to leave them with three [01:06:25] pieces of wisdom. What would they be?

Speaker1: So I’d say [01:06:30] the first would be always prioritise your well-being. The [01:06:35] second would be always be your authentic self [01:06:40] and never sacrifice anything you [01:06:45] sense you will regret later on in life. The [01:06:50] third would be to adopt a champions discipline in managing your [01:06:55] time. And if I had one tiny, tiny little breath left, if I may, [01:07:00] is I would say that trust yourself. And [01:07:05] know that you are resourceful enough to make your dreams come true.

Speaker4: Lovely. [01:07:10] Lovely. And, um, how would you like to be remembered?

Speaker1: I [01:07:15] think as someone who inspired [01:07:20] so many women in dentistry and created huge [01:07:25] impact, not just in the UK, but on a global level. By creating [01:07:30] such a big change in their lives and being able to really get them [01:07:35] to flourish and thrive, not just in their professional life, but in everything that they do. [01:07:40] And I want to be remembered for someone that is therefore created a big [01:07:45] impact in the future of dentistry.

Speaker4: Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. [01:07:50] Payman. Over to your party.

Speaker5: The [01:07:55] question is.

Speaker3: The question is a question about who you want to spend some time and talk to. So, fantasy dinner party. [01:08:00] Three guests, dead or alive. Who would you have?

Speaker1: So [01:08:05] my first one definitely would be Michelle Obama. The reason being is I [01:08:10] think that she has such a strong sense of self, and I think that even [01:08:15] before President Obama started his presidency, she [01:08:20] already had such a strong career and knew her goals is so much clarity. She’s just such [01:08:25] a strong human being, and I’d love to talk to her so much more about how [01:08:30] she continued to be herself and even more and still, [01:08:35] you know, and still be married to President Obama and still be able to support him. So I [01:08:40] think that her trying to understand where she got her sense of self from, for sure.

Speaker6: Hmm’hmm. [01:08:45]

Speaker3: It’s not the first time she’s. And who [01:08:50] would you have? Who else?

Speaker1: My second one would actually be Cleopatra. Um. [01:08:55] And I think she’s one of the. She’s an ancient queen. Right. [01:09:00] And again, in this, like, very patriarchal society [01:09:05] and how she used her intellect and [01:09:10] some of her female traits to be able to lead. And I’d love [01:09:15] to understand the challenges that she faced and how she overcame them, but how [01:09:20] she truly stayed true to herself right til the end, [01:09:25] right? She really fought for what she believed in. And I thought, that’s really inspiring. So definitely hard. [01:09:30]

Speaker5: And nice.

Speaker1: I guess my third one would be [01:09:35] Mahatma Gandhi, because once again, he has such an immense sense of [01:09:40] self and authenticity and he’s such an amazing communicator, [01:09:45] right? That was what was really interesting about him, that he was able to inspire and persuade [01:09:50] millions of people to create impact from an individual [01:09:55] level to a country to a global level. Right. And [01:10:00] he was able to combine this authenticity, his vision and his [01:10:05] purpose. And I guess, like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, he was [01:10:10] such an effective communicator using verbal and nonverbal communication. But also, [01:10:15] I think, again, he was true to himself. Being Jain. He focussed his actions [01:10:20] using the founding principle of Jainism, which is non-violence. And he led so many [01:10:25] passive rebellions and protests. So I’d love to tap into his mind and have a fantasy [01:10:30] dinner with him. Definitely.

Speaker5: Brilliant.

Speaker4: Wonderful.

Speaker3: Thank you so much [01:10:35] for doing this. Looking looking forward to seeing to seeing how how how the course goes [01:10:40] and how the practice goes as well. Hopefully we have you back in five years and there’s a chain of platinums. [01:10:45] And thank you. Let’s see how it goes. Lovely to have you. Thank [01:10:50] you.

Speaker4: Yeah I’m really interested to see how the course evolves. Really? And, um, you [01:10:55] become this leading light for female dentists, not only here, but I really like [01:11:00] the way you articulated your vision globally. I think that’s I think that’s lovely. So [01:11:05] thank thanks for sharing today, Sarika, and thanks for your time.

Speaker1: Thank you so much. Thank you both. Have a [01:11:10] lovely day.

Speaker2: This is Dental Leaders, the [01:11:15] podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. [01:11:20] Your hosts. Payman Langroudi [01:11:25] and Prav Solanki.

Speaker4: Thanks for listening, guys. If [01:11:30] you got this far, you must have listened to the whole thing. And just a huge thank you both from me and pay [01:11:35] for actually sticking through and listening to what we’ve had to say and what our guest has had to say, [01:11:40] because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

Speaker3: If you did get some value out of it, think about [01:11:45] subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some [01:11:50] value out of it too. Thank you so so, so much for listening. Thanks.

Speaker4: And don’t forget our six star rating. [01:11:55]

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